Empowering journalists to report on climate solutions

On 16 June, the Renewable Energy Coalition, which represents a diverse group of Civil Society Organisations, community-based groups, and grassroots movements, trained twelve selected journalists from five media outlets, including radios and newspapers, in Parakou.

 


In a world increasingly grappling with the realities of climate change, the role of journalism is more crucial than ever. Recognizing the need for accurate and compelling reporting on climate solutions and renewable energy, the training aimed at equipping journalists with the tools and knowledge necessary to cover the feasibility of climate solutions to their audiences.

The training was conducted by two specialized journalists and focused on the following topics:

  • Enhance understanding of climate science - journalists were given a comprehensive overview of climate science, helping them understand the fundamental principles and current state of research
  • Explore renewable energy technologies - detailed sessions were conducted on various renewable energy technologies, including solar, wind, hydropower, and bioenergy, highlighting their potential and challenges
  • Improve storytelling techniques—Journalists learned the basics of advanced storytelling techniques to make their reports more engaging and accessible to the general public. 

The training blended theoretical knowledge and practical exercises. Renowned environmental journalists were invited to share their insights. One of the most impactful sessions was a workshop on data journalism, where participants learned how to interpret and visualize climate data effectively. This session underscored the importance of presenting data in a way that is both informative and easy to understand for readers.

The feedback from the participants was overwhelmingly positive. Many journalists expressed that the training had significantly broadened their understanding and given them new tools to approach their reporting. 

By empowering journalists with the knowledge and skills to report accurately and compellingly on climate solutions and renewable energy, we can help ensure that the public remains informed and engaged in the fight against climate change. This training marks a significant step towards more effective climate communication, and its ripple effects will undoubtedly be felt for years to come.

By Christian Hounkannou
350Africa.org


No more coal! No more oil! Keep the fossils in the soil’ AfDb March, in Nairobi - Africa Day

Africa Day is an opportunity to celebrate African diversity and success, and to highlight the cultural and economic potential that exists on the African continent.On this day, May 25th 2024 dozens of climate activists took to the streets of Nairobi, Kenya to protest for climate liberation.The protesters called for the African Development Bank (AfDB) to stop financing fossil extraction across Africa. The march started at Nyayo Stadium and proceeded to Uhuru Gardens, Freedom Corner.  

The organizers of the action was one of our partners Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Franciscan Africa (JPIC-FA) whose work is supported with the mission to promote joint actions on issues that are important to the Franciscans in Africa. 

The African Development Bank (AfDB), established in 1964, is a key regional institution committed to fostering sustainable economic growth and reducing poverty in Africa. It provides vital financial resources, including loans, grants, and technical assistance, to support diverse development projects spanning infrastructure, agriculture, energy, transportation, water, sanitation, and social services. Moreover, the AfDB promotes policy dialogue and coordination among African countries and development partners through research, policy analysis, and advocacy efforts, aiming to strengthen the capacity of African governments to address key development challenges effectively.

The protesters took to the streets to demand accountability, transparency, inclusivity and justice in the development projects and investments of the AfDB following the Bank Group's 2024 annual meetings to be held from May 27th - 31st in Nairobi Kenya.

 


At the end of the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), the European Union and world leaders recommitted to delivering the Paris Agreement goals and limiting the global average temperature increase to 1.5 Celsius. They agreed to accelerate emission reductions towards net zero by 2050, with urgent action in this critical decade. This includes transitioning away from fossil fuels and reducing global emissions by 43% by 2030.


Positive economic growth and increasing energy demand are forecasted for the continent between 2030 and 2050.Africa can leapfrog the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy sources to sustainably address these forecasts.

Heavy rains and devastating flooding, prolonged drought, famine and heat waves are some of the effects being felt in Africa more frequently as a consequence of climate change. All this can be blamed on emissions from burning coal and fossil fuels. The AfDB funding such projects is causing  destruction of the environment along with its people.

It is upon us to save our country, our continent and our planet from fossil fuel extraction. Don’t be left behind, join the struggle, let’s have climate liberation.

#We want climate justice now! #Fix the finance! #Fund our future! #End fossil fuels! #People over profit!

By Lynn Kamande
Africa Regional Organiser for 350 Africa


AFRIKAVUKA NIGERIA FIRST QUARTER 2024: REVIEW OF NIGERIA’S ENERGY TRANSITION PLAN AND NIGERIA’S 2024 CLIMATE BUDGET AND M&E OF SOLAR FOR COMMUNITIES OWUKPA

The continuous adverse effects of climate change on the sustainability of the environment is a critical topic that cannot be overemphasized. Nigeria’s heavy dependence on fossil fuels results in environmental degradation, economic vulnerabilities and health issues.  Nigeria, like many other nations, stands at a critical juncture where its energy transition plans and budgetary decisions can shape the path  of its development for decades to come. Nigeria, in response to her challenges of the environment, made commitments to reach net-zero emissions by 2060 through its Energy Transition Plan (ETP), launched in 2022.

AfrikaVuka-Nigeria has been instrumental in grassroots activism and renewable energy advocacy. In the first quarter of 2024, AfrikaVuka-Nigeria has consolidated wins, mobilised stakeholders nationwide and will be expanding interventions to hard-to-reach areas, particularly in the Niger Delta. To achieve these and accelerate the transition to a world powered by renewable energies, AfrikaVuka Nigeria in partnership with Global Initiative For Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation (GIFSEP) hosted a meeting of stakeholders in Abuja-FCT on the 18th of April, 2024, to share the findings of the review of Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan and Nigeria’s 2024 Climate Budget, aiming to assess Nigeria’s commitment to solving environmental issues and identify crucial areas  that need attention and action. The review of the Energy Transition Plan revealed Nigeria's pledge to achieve net-zero emissions by 2060, with initial financing opportunities of $23 billion and a $10 billion support package from the government.

The review also showed that the plan has the potential to create about 340,000 jobs by 2030 and 840,000 jobs by 2060.  Furthermore, the strengths of the ETP are to create significant economic opportunities and job creation across various sectors of the economy, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and electric vehicles. However, challenges such as heavy reliance on fossil fuels, energy poverty and insufficient investment in renewable energy were highlighted during the review. The review of Nigeria’s 2024 budget indicated that only 5.02% was allocated for climate-related activities out of a total budget of 28.7 trillion naira.

Adaptation projects received 52.8% of the allocation while mitigation projects received 47.2%. Renewable energy projects constituted 37% of the climate budget, indicating a significant focus on transitioning to cleaner energy sources. Effective budgeting and sustainable energy policies are fundamental to building resilience against economic challenges, mitigating climate change risks, and driving inclusive growth.

In Portharcourt, Rivers State Nigeria, AfrikaVuka Nigeria partners; Lekeh Development Foundation, Quest for Growth and Development Foundation, Society for Women and Youth Affairs and Vote4ClimateNG, hosted a dialogue on the Energy Transition Plan.  The event took place on the 22nd of April, 2024. The group made the following demands:

  • government should make economic policies that will avail renewable energy to the poor and low-income earners,
  • the private sector should be involved in the implementation (incentives like tax breaks should be developed) of the ETP,
  • the government should domesticate and make the ETP equitable so as to allow states and local governments to make input and segment the process into short, medium and long-term action to be able to capture areas that are missed in the process and also provide solutions for gaps that may occur

Furthermore, Afrika Nigeria extended its outreach efforts to reach remote communities such as Owukpa in Benue State. In Owukpa, a community affected by coal mining, a monitoring and evaluation exercise was conducted on the Solar for Communities project implemented in 2023. The assessment revealed favorable outcomes for the Owukpa community, including increased household lighting duration of 4 to 6 hours, particularly beneficial for students studying at night. Also, the community reported that crime rate has dropped which has contributed to enhanced security.  More so, the community continues to derive economic advantages stemming from decreased kerosene costs and phone charging facilities.

Overall, Afrika Vuka in Nigeria is advocating for a just transition to renewable energy where the needs of frontline communities are prioritized.

 

By Terrence M. Jeiyol

For Afrika Vuka Nigeria


Earth Day: Plastic Pollution, a Global Crisis with Devastating Impacts on Africa

Earth Day reminds us of the urgent need to understand the serious problem of plastic pollution and how it disproportionately affects vulnerable communities in Africa. Plastic pollution, largely fueled by our dependence on fossil fuels, worsens the climate crisis, leading to harmful effects on ecosystems, livelihoods, and health.

 

Plastic is a pressing global concern, but its impact on Africa is particularly severe. Over 99% of plastic is made from chemicals sourced from fossil fuels and is mainly produced by big corporations closely linked with the fossil fuel industry. The production of fossil fuel generated plastic increases greenhouse gas emissions and worsens climate change. With only 9% of plastic waste being recycled globally and 22% mismanaged, Africa bears a disproportionate burden. Much of the plastic waste generated elsewhere, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, finds its way into Africa, legally or illegally.

This results in escalating climate impacts which disproportionately affect communities across the African continent. Despite efforts to adopt cleaner energy sources, the widespread use of single-use plastics continues to tie us to fossil fuels. This reliance not only damages the environment but also poses a threat to communities worldwide. Shockingly, plastic production already contributes 3-4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and this could triple by 2050 without significant action.

Africa, historically used as a dumping ground for waste from wealthier nations, still faces the consequences of waste colonialism. The proposed Global Plastics Treaty offers hope of addressing this injustice by advocating for responsible waste management, setting standards for plastic consumption and charting a path to a plastic free future. Plastic pollution worsens existing social injustices, disproportionately affecting marginalized communities. These communities suffer from health risks associated with plastic production, such as cancer and asthma, while the fossil fuel companies often evade accountability. It's crucial to involve indigenous communities, waste collectors, and frontline groups in treaty negotiations to ensure fair solutions to the crisis. Communities at the frontline of the plastic crisis endure daily challenges, including economic hardships and exposure to harmful chemicals. Their input is crucial in developing effective strategies to combat plastic pollution.

The promotion of chemical recycling as a solution is controversial because it perpetuates fossil fuel extraction and plastic production, further harming communities and the environment. Instead, decision-makers should focus on implementing a robust plastics treaty that significantly reduces plastic production, regulates plastic  consumption and fosters the complete phase out of plastics.

On this Earth Day, it's essential to recognize the urgency of addressing the plastic crisis and its adverse impact on African communities. Simply relying on recycling is not enough; we must tackle the root cause of the problem by implementing global measures to kick out plastics and hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for its role in the plastic crisis in order to address the environmental and climate injustice. Earth Day is a time when everyday people make incredible things happen for our climate movement. And you can join that movement. Sign up for our network or make a donation today. Any amount, big or small, will help escalate our climate campaigns. Demand that world leaders make fossil fuel companies pay for their destruction. We need this to fund the energy transition we urgently need.

 

By Anna Amar for 350Africa.org


Énergies Renouvelables, alternatives au développement du pétrole et du gaz en RDC

Les activistes et organisations de la société civile ont organisé un atelier de réflexion autour de la promotion des énergies renouvelables comme alternative au développement du pétrole et du gaz en RDC afin de renforcer leurs plaidoyers contre le projet du gouvernement congolais de vendre aux enchères 30 blocs pétroliers et gaziers. 

En effet, le pays regorge d’énormes potentialités en énergies renouvelables qui peuvent capitaliser et contribuer à la lutte contre la pauvreté énergétique et à l’amélioration des conditions de vie des communautés. Pour ce faire, les réflexions lors de cette séance ont aussi porté sur l’initiative Virunga Energy, qui alimente la ville de Goma à 78% avec l’énergie produite grâce aux centrales hydro-électriques. Cette initiative, fruit du partenariat public privé entre la fondation Virunga et l'État Congolais, bénéficie des financements de l’Union Européenne et de la Banque Mondiale pour soutenir ses actions qui jusqu’ici offrent beaucoup d’avantages à la grande satisfaction des communautés.

Nous avons déjà l’expérience des avantages des énergies renouvelables dans notre pays, l’initiative Virunga Energy est un modèle par excellence de promotion des énergies renouvelables accessibles aux communautés  qui peut être dupliqué sur l’étendue nationale et qui peut apporter des résultats en termes de réduction de la pauvreté énergétique qui frappe notre pays. Déclare Pascal Mirindi, Activiste Extinction Rebellion DRC/GOMA

Face à la double crise énergétique et climatique à laquelle la RDC est confrontée, les communautés ont plus besoin des initiatives qui vont contribuer à améliorer leurs conditions de vies et  pour répondre à ce besoin il est nécessaire de penser aux actions à prioriser.

Il était important pour les forces vives de la société civile réunies  de définir un agenda commun assorti d’un plan d’actions stratégiques à mener dans le court, moyen et long terme en vue de contribuer à la promotion des énergies renouvelables en RDC pour le bien des communautés et du climat. Précise Stanislas Kunda, Coordonnateur Adjoint du MJPE-RDC

Au regard de faiblesses signalées avec l’initiative Virunga Energy entre autre le manque de communication efficace et participative des communautés locales, le manque d’appropriation effective de l’initiative par les communautés dans certaines zones, les participants ont à la suite des travaux en groupe, proposé quelques pistes des solutions à prendre en compte, notamment :  renforcer la communication autour des énergies renouvelables en RDC par la production d’un guide de sensibilisation destiné aux communautés, aux autorités locales et investisseurs ; promouvoir  la formation et le renforcement des capacités sur les énergies renouvelables en milieu rural afin de doter aux communautés les connaissances requises et faciliter la main d’œuvre locale et  la création d’emplois durables ; mener une étude pour cartographier les sources en énergies renouvelables disponibles pour chaque région ; renforcer les initiatives locales de jeunes visant la promotion des énergies renouvelables ; réaliser un storytelling ou documentaire sur le cas de Virunga energy avec les communautés pour s’enquérir de la situation.

Il faut une forte mobilisation des fonds pour étendre les projets d’accès à l’énergie sur l’étendue du pays, en se servant des richesses potentielles énergies renouvelables  particulières à chaque région, et aussi envisager une gestion qui implique activement la population non seulement en tant que main d’œuvre ou expertise locale, mais aussi dans le processus de décision. Conclu Bonita Nginamau, Présidente de Green Idea ONG

Dans le but de continuer à mener des actions conjointes autour de la promotion des énergies renouvelables en RDC, les forces vives de la société civile ont projeter quelques actions de plaidoyers auprès des autorisations locales pour la promotion des énergies renouvelables pour le bien-être des communautés Une Task-Force informelle pour les énergies renouvelables a été créé afin de continuer à mener les actions dans les jours à venir.

Bonaventure Bondo

FossilFreeDRC


Navrongo Witnesses Groundbreaking Renewable Energy Documentary Launch

Navrongo, Upper East, Ghana - As the global call for a just transition to renewable energy grows louder, 350Africa.org and 350 GROC have stepped up to the plate with a compelling documentary unveiling a remarkable community-driven renewable advocacy movement in Ghana. Titled ‘The Renewable Energy Charge’, the documentary chronicles the inspiring journey of grassroots initiatives driving renewable energy adoption and ambition in Ghana.

Set against the backdrop of Solar Appreciation Day 2024, the documentary launch took place in Navrongo, a town in the Kassena-Nankana District of Ghana's Upper East region, 12 hours drive from Ghana’s capital, Accra. The event marked not just a screening but a celebration of community resilience and triumph in the face of energy challenges.

Community screenings held in Nawognia and Pungu on March 9th and 10th respectively served as focal points for spreading awareness and distributing solar bulbs. Over 300 people in Navrongo attended the public screening.

Beyond the screenings, 350 GROC seized the opportunity to forge partnerships with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Navrongo, igniting discussions and laying the groundwork for future collaborations. Thomas Abugah of Concern for Action in Our Community Ghana (CONFAC-GH) hailed the engagement as “fruitful and timely”, affirming his organization's readiness to join forces with 350 GROC for amplified impact.

The sentiment was echoed by a plethora of organizations including Sound Mind Foundation, CENSODEV, Levites Basic Needs International Foundation among others, all eager to contribute to Ghana's renewable energy journey.

PE Abayage Anankware III, Divisional Chief of Pungu, pledged collaboration with 350 GROC to facilitate a just energy transition in his community, underscoring the documentary's impact rooted in the voices and experiences of community members like himself, now immortalized on film.

Portia Adu Mensah, National Coordinator for 350 GROC, shared optimism about communities spearheading local solutions for a just energy transition. She emphasized that 350 GROC's success story in Ghana exemplifies how grassroots movements can pave the way, guiding communities toward a renewable energy future.

Looking ahead, 350 GROC envisions further engagement with Navrongo's women through its Women in Renewable Energy project, recognizing the pivotal role they play in shaping Ghana's sustainable future. With Navrongo's warm climate and soaring temperatures, the need for renewable energy solutions is not just pressing but imperative.

In the quest for a brighter, greener tomorrow, Navrongo stands at the forefront, a sign of hope for communities worldwide.


Women’s leadership in the Renewable Energy transition in Africa: The RE4C story

In the dynamic landscape of Africa's energy transition, one of the most powerful agents of change often remains overlooked: women. As the continent grapples with the challenges of climate change, energy access, and sustainable development, women are emerging as pivotal leaders, driving transformative shifts towards cleaner and more equitable energy systems.

From rural villages to bustling urban centers, women are emerging as catalysts for positive change in the energy sector, redefining the narrative and shaping a future that prioritizes inclusivity, resilience, and environmental sustainability. Their contributions span diverse realms, from pioneering renewable energy projects to advocating for inclusive policies that prioritize marginalized communities.

Meet Portia Adu-Mensah, founder of Dream Hunt (DH) a Non-Governmental Organization in Ghana and National Coordinator of 350 GROC (Ghana Reducing Our Carbon). Portia is a trained creative activist from Global Power Shift organized by 350.org in Turkey. She is a graduate from Central University College, Faculty of Accounting and Finance with a degree in Banking and Finance. Her love for the environment and urge to fight against climate change in Ghana has inspired and motivated her to lead, join and support environmental campaigns and events that promote environmental sustainability and climate justice. 

The journey began in 2013 when Portia found herself at the Global Power Shift in Turkey. Little did she know that this experience would ignite a fire within her, compelling her to co-found 350 Ghana Reducing our Carbon (350 GROC). Energized and connected with global climate activists, Portia and her spirited comrades set out to confront the looming threat of the Ekumfi Aboano power plant, a coal project that cast a shadow over the lives of thousands.

The battle against Ekumfi Aboano became a crucible, testing the resilience of Portia and her team. Through protests and community engagement that spanned three challenging years, victory was achieved – the coal project was permanently shelved. But for Portia and her dedicated team, this triumph was not the conclusion but the beginning of a new chapter.

 

RE4C PROCESSION TO THE MINISTRY OF ENERGY

Recognizing the need to shift from opposition to empowerment, 350 GROC expanded its horizons. In 2021, they launched the "Renewable Energy for Communities" (RE4C) campaign. The narrative pivoted to empowering local communities, advocating for sustainable alternatives, and ensuring that the voices of women were central. 

In 2022, the RE4C campaign brought together a diverse group of organizations under the banner of the Renewable Energy for Communities Coalition(RE4CC) to accelerate the integration of 10% decentralized renewable energy into Ghana's energy mix by the year 2030.

Portia Adu- Mensah, National Coordinator, 350 G-ROC,

"At its core, the RE4C campaign is about strengthening communities to take control of our energy future. Through education, advocacy, and collaboration, we are working to build a more sustainable and equitable energy system for all Ghanaians. By centering the voices and experiences of local communities, our campaign aims to ensure that renewable energy policies and projects are responsive to the needs of the people. As we take on these efforts at the grassroots level, we urge the government to enforce the implementation of the country’s renewable energy plans, among them achieving 10% renewable energy in the country’s energy mix by 2030. "

The RE4C campaign has not only raised awareness but has become a beacon of empowerment. The initiatives undertaken, from training 100 women in clean cooking techniques to advocating for improvements in Ghana's Renewable Energy Act, exemplify the transformative power of women in the energy transition. 

To put the spotlight on women’s leadership in the energy transition in Africa on one hand, 350Africa.org and 350 G-ROC have released a documentary shedding light on the remarkable journey of the Renewable Energy for Communities (RE4C) campaign in Ghana. The documentary, titled "The Renewable Charge," highlights the origins and achievements of the campaign by 350 G-ROC, which evolved from a volunteer-led anti-coal campaign into a powerful community-centered advocacy movement for renewable energy. The documentary could inspire more than one as it captures the resilience and triumphs of women in the frontline working to build a more sustainable and equitable energy system for all Ghanaians.

The film’s premiere took place in an online webinar on the 8th of March, while community screenings are set to be held in Navrongo in Northern Ghana, the location of Ghana’s first Solar PV utility-scale project on 9th and 10th of March. In addition to the screenings,  350 G-ROC and partners will engage local stakeholders and distribute solar bulbs to communities in the area.

Should you want to watch the documentary or host a screening in your network, visit this page to learn more afrikavuka.org/renewable-charge

Inspired by a blog written by Santiago Sáez Moreno, former Languages and Editorial Specialist at 350.org


Journée mondiale de zones humides : Des activistes pour le climat appellent le Gouvernement congolais à protéger le parc de Virunga contre l’exploitation pétrolière.

A l’occasion de la célébration de la journée mondiale des zones humides, qui sont les milieux à grande valeur écologique et de surcroît très importants dans la lutte contre le changement climatique, les activistes engagés pour le climat en République Démocratique du Congo appellent le gouvernement  à protéger le parc national de Virunga contre l’exploitation pétrolière.

Le parc national de Virunga est un patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO (1979) et site de Ramsar depuis 1996, grâce à ses importantes zones humides. Cette aire protégée située à l’Est de la République Démocratique du Congo regorge une riche biodiversité, joue un grand rôle dans la régulation du climat mondial et constitue un moyen de subsistance pour les communautés locales. Ainsi, ce patrimoine naturel est sous menace des activités extractives dont le projet du gouvernement congolais qui compte  vendre aux enchères 30 blocs pétroliers et gaziers. Ce qui présente des menaces évidentes sur la biodiversité, le climat et le bien-être des communautés locales.

Depuis le lancement de ce projet en juillet 2022, les activistes et acteurs de la société civile environnementale continuent à protester contre cette décision dangereuse pour la biodiversité et le climat et à demander aux autorités congolaises de privilégier les intérêts et le bien-être des communautés locales.

« La célébration de la journée mondiale des zones humides est une occasion pour nous de mettre en lumière les menaces qui pèsent sur le parc de Virunga et d’appeler le gouvernement congolais à annuler les licences d’exploitation pétrolière encore en vigueur et à mettre fin au projet de vente de blocs pétroliers et gaziers dont certains se trouvent au sein du parc des Virunga » dit Johnnyta Roy, activiste climat de la RDC

Face à la crise climatique actuelle et à ses conséquences qui impactent déjà fortement les communautés en RDC, il est urgent d’explorer d’autres voies autre que l’exploitation du pétrole pour contribuer à l’amélioration des conditions des vies, notamment la promotion des sources d’énergies renouvelables accessibles et créatrices de revenus. Les activistes appellent par ce fait l’État congolais à plus d’ambitions et à capitaliser les opportunités de développement des énergies renouvelables qu’offre le paysage des Virunga afin de contribuer à la protection de la riche biodiversité de cette aire protégée et de ses importantes zones humides.

« Cette année, nous allons continuer à mener des grandes actions de mobilisation des communautés à la base contre la destruction du parc national des Virunga pour le pétrole, le parc est le seul moyen de subsistance pour des milliers des communautés, et nous resterons toujours déterminés pour faire échec à ce projet destructeur » mentionne Justin Mutabesha, activiste FossilFreeVirunga

Notons que l’appel à annulation de la vente aux enchères de 30  blocs pétroliers et gaziers par les organisations environnementales nationales et internationales et activistes n’a pas encore trouvé une réponse favorable de la part du gouvernement congolais.

 

Bonaventure Bondo

Activiste FossilFreeVirunga


AFCON sponsorship: A greenwashing strategy by TotalEnergies

The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is not just a football tournament; it's a euphoric celebration of national pride, unity, and the beautiful game that unites us all. As a fan, AFCON is the pinnacle of excitement, a time when our hearts beat in sync with the rhythm of the game, and our spirits soar with each goal scored for our beloved national team. I can’t describe the joy and excitement I felt when Sadio Mané scored the 3rd goal against Cameroon. 

One can feel and even touch the passion of football for African youth, and AFCON is the stage where our collective dream comes alive: African Unity. As the kickoff approaches, the entire nation becomes a sea of colors, echoing with cheers, chants, and the beating of drums. We proudly wear our team jerseys, painting our faces with the vibrant hues of our national flag, ready to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our fellow compatriots.

For me, AFCON is more than a competition; it's a showcase of the extraordinary talent that our continent possesses. Our star players become heroes, and their every move on the field is a source of collective joy and celebration. The tournament brings together diverse cultures, languages, and traditions under the common banner of football, fostering a sense of unity and shared identity that transcends borders.

The intensity of each match and the collective roar of the crowd create an electrifying atmosphere. It's a rollercoaster of emotions. However, AFCON is not just about the sport, it’s an “Industry of collective attention”, and it's also a huge greenwashing machine used by fossil fuel companies.

As I watched the game Nigeria vs Côte d’Ivoire, the TotalEnergies logo was suddenly harassing me, knowing all the damages they are causing to the environment particularly in Africa with the EACOP project. Studies show, and TotalEnergies is aware of it, that the construction and operation of EACOP pose grave environmental risks. Worse, TotalEnergies, was aware of the harmful global warming impacts due to burning fossil fuels since 1971 and actively engaged in a sophisticated denial campaign of climate science. The pipeline route traverses sensitive ecosystems, including protected areas and internationally significant wetlands, posing threats to biodiversity and ecosystems that thousands of kids, vulnerable women, and poor families depend on for their sustenance.

As Côte d’Ivoire was scoring in the last minutes, I felt sad and everything vanished. The joy, the excitement, the cheers, and even the stadium disappeared. All I saw was the red, blue, and yellow colors of the TotalEnergies logo. 

At that moment, I realized that I, the players, and the million viewers were oiling a huge greenwashing machine run by TotalEnergies. One may not be familiar with greenwashing, so let me unpack it for you. 

Major sporting events like the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) are used as opportunities for companies and brands to communicate with audiences and shape a good image. Greenwashing is one of these strategies. It involves presenting a misleading image of a brand or company, and events such as AFCON is leveraged by TotalEnergies for such purposes through sponsorship and advertising. 

“On July 21, 2016, Total signed an eight-year partnership with the African Football Confederation (AFC), the governing body of football on the continent. Our Company - TotalEnergies - has thus become the title sponsor of the ten main AFC competitions including the prestigious African Cup of Nations (AFCON). Renamed AFCON Total then AFCON TotalEnergies on this occasion, it is the most important sporting event in Africa and the third largest football competition after the World Cup and the European Championship. Africa is part of our DNA.”

According to the Chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanné: “Africa is an integral part of TotalEnergies’ DNA. Through this commitment, we are strengthening our links and our proximity with our stakeholders and our customers, around popular and festive competitions which always arouse great enthusiasm, including within our teams.”

AFCON becomes a strategic time to capture the audience's attention, what Puyanné refers to as “great enthusiasm”, and shape perceptions before the tournament begins. TotalEnergy even associated their name with the competition per se; so instead of saying AFCON, in the media, they call it TotalEnergy AFCON. Meaning, they own - or should I say usurped - the competition from millions of football fans. 

The goal of using greenwashing during AFCON is to manipulate the audience's perception, associating the brand with positive environmental values and diverting attention from any negative environmental practices. One can notice that TotalEnergies launched advertising campaigns leading up to AFCON using a greenwashing strategy by highlighting their environmental initiatives and green products. In this ad, they showcase electric cars, solar-powered device charging phones, green solutions, etc to implicitly shape the image of an eco-responsible company while they are polluting and causing loss and damage among those that are watching the competition.

Total agent providing power to an Electric car
Solar powered lamp made by TotalEnergies

In 2022, TotalEnergies made a record $36 billion profit from its oil and gas exploration in Africa, wrecking the planet and devastating communities. TotalEnergies cannot continue hijacking our prestigious football moment with its advertising. People from impacted communities and countries have already rejected its extractivist-based neo-colonial activities and expansion of oil and gas exploitation. AFCON 2024 must be the last TotalEnergies-sponsored cup! Together, we must join our forces to kick Total Out of the Continent.


Unpacking Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): Why It is Not the Climate Solution it is touted as

Climate change is a global challenge that demands innovative solutions. One proposed solution that's been gaining attention is Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). While CCS is increasingly being touted as a silver bullet to combat climate change, it is a diversionary tactic that allows polluters to keep polluting while delaying real climate action and solutions. 

In this blog post, we'll break down CCS in simple terms and explore why CCS is a dangerous distraction and not the solution to curbing greenhouse gas emissions and avoiding the worst impacts of the climate crisis.

Understanding CCS: The Basics

Carbon Capture and Storage is like a vacuum cleaner for carbon dioxide (CO2). Imagine your favorite power plant or factory is a giant CO2 factory, churning out tons of the greenhouse gas into the air. CCS steps in to capture that CO2 before it escapes into the atmosphere.

  • Capture:
    • Imagine capturing CO2 is like catching butterflies. There are different ways to do it, like putting a net after the butterflies (post-combustion), catching them before they fly (pre-combustion), or creating an environment where they can't escape (oxy-fuel combustion).
  • Transportation:
    • Once we've caught the CO2 butterflies, we need to take them to a safe place. This involves transporting the captured CO2, usually through pipelines or ships, to storage sites.
  • Storage:
    • Think of storage sites as giant butterfly gardens, but underground. We carefully release the CO2 butterflies into these gardens, making sure they stay put and don't escape back into the air.

Why Some Skepticism?

While CCS sounds deceptively promising, experts and critics have raised concerns about it

Cost Concerns:

  • Building and maintaining the CO2-catching vacuum cleaner can be expensive. Some argue that the money spent on CCS might be better used for more affordable and proven green technologies.

Delaying the Switch to Green Energy:

  • Critics worry that focusing too much on CCS might slow down our transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources like wind and solar power. It's like fixing a leaky faucet instead of installing a more efficient water-saving system.

Butterfly Escapes:

  • There's always a risk that some CO2 butterflies might escape from storage sites. If that happens, we're back to square one with greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change.

Energy Hog:

  • The process of capturing and storing CO2 requires energy itself. It's like using a lot of energy to catch those butterflies, making the whole operation less efficient.

In the grand scheme of things, CCS isn't a simple superhero swooping in to save the day. In addition to the concerns above, CCS affords polluters to continue their harmful practices, fueling climate breakdown, instead of embarking on the urgently needed phase out of fossil fuels.

To truly tackle climate change, we need to eliminate dangerous distractions and employ a mix of real climate solutions. This includes investing, and tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030 which many nations supported at COP28, improving energy efficiency, and phasing out fossil fuels.These measures are critical towards a greener, sustainable and livable future for all.